In light of much national conversation on the 14(c) program, the National Council on Disability (NCD) issued a new report titled “National Disability Employment Policy, From the New Deal to the Real Deal: Joining the Industries of the Future”. The 14(c) program refers to Section 14(c) under the Fair Labor Standards Act which allows in limited cases for individuals to be paid a subminimum wage – in this case people with disabilities can be paid subminimum wage legally if an individual has a current certificate and abides by all the rules and regulations of the program. NCD is the official government advisory body to Congress and the President on disability issues.
In NCD’s report on the issue, they look back at their 2012 report on the issues, examine data around the 14(c) program and the reliability of such data, look at recent Olmstead settlements and policy developments regarding the program, examine businesses that profit from the program, examine 6 states that have transitioned away from it and finally make recommendations. The six states featured in the report are Maine, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Massachusetts. The 169 page report includes recommendations to: increasing oversight of the current 14(c) program; phase out 14(c) programs on a six-year timeline; issue a 2-year moratorium on new 14(c) certificates; and keep the current definition of “competitive integrated employment” (CIE) in regulatory definitions. The report also recommends changes to a law that requires federal agencies to purchase certain supplies from non-profits supporting individuals who are blind or have significant disabilities, so that people with I/DD are have better employment opportunities.
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